2002 Dee Breger
One day in 1995, Dee Breger's office phone played a message from a male voice she couldn't identify, who on call-back turned out to be a Dr. Pierre Rioux of ISPE. When she heard the name, she said it sounded like something made with flour and butter. A responding laugh from Pierre initiated what was to become a lifelong friendship. Pierre had called for information to add to a review he was writing for her coffee-table book on images from the scanning electron microscope, Journeys in Microspace
. A continuing mutual intellectual and artistic respect led to Pierre's proposal of Dee's work for the Whiting Memorial Award, which she was pleased to receive in 2002 along with publication of her essay and images in Telicom.
Dee followed a degree in studio art from the University of Wisconsin by combining her twin loves of science and art as a scientific illustrator at Columbia University's Earth science research institute in Palisades, NY, now known as the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. She quickly switched to full time operation of Lamont's transmission electron microscope (TEM), and then to the scanning electron microscope (SEM) when Lamont acquired one of the first commercially available models.
In 1982 Dee founded Lamont’s (and Columbia's) first professional SEM and X-ray microanalysis (EDS) Facility, serving as its Manager for the next 22 years. Although she specialized in scanning electron microscopy since the inception of the technology, Dee also worked in other capacities in various laboratory and field programs in many of the Earth sciences. She participated on over 30 expeditions in many far-flung corners of the world, mostly at sea, with an emphasis on Antarctic oceanography. This included her participation in Siberian conferences commemorating the 1908 Tunguska meteor explosion and being dropped by helicopter into the epicenter of the Tunguska forest, where the team camped for five days to study the terrain and collect samples for SEM analysis.
While Sr. Microscopist at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA she formed her company Micrographic Arts. At the intersection of science, art, education, and technology, she encouraged a delight in the many worlds of science through her slide programs in K-12 schools, nature clubs, professional societies and other venues that included the international Explorers Club and a European eco-cruise ship plying Patagonian waters. In October 2008, she lectured on the microworld and the impact project, as well as mounting a gallery exhibition on the luxury cruise ship The World. Dee's prize-winning images adorn the walls of numerous science museums, corporations, galleries and private homes and are routinely featured in the media. She was featured in the 1995 BBC documentary Hidden Visions. Over the next few years, several coffee-table books and a children's book series were add to the books and articles she had already published. Dee roles included being a Fellow of the Explorers Club, Field Associate at the Liberty Science Center (Jersey City NY), Council Member of the New York Hall of Science (Queens NY), and Mentor of ISPE.
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